It’s hard not to fall in love with the mass media. Today everyone is panicking about the coronavirus, which is great for ad revenues if you’re a TV channel or a print newspaper. All because a new virus is sensation-worthy, apparently. Yet the coronavirus is doing just what the regular flu virus does every year: killing very old people and those with compromised immune systems. Every single year around 55,000 US citizens die of flu and around half the population contracts it (many are asymptomatic). But we don’t get scary media articles and day-to-day death counts because everyone knows the flu is just something that happens.

Maybe it would be better if we quarantined the mass media and made journalists wear thick gloves that stop them typing and ultra-thick face masks that render them speechless? Normally I’m in favor of a free flow of information but when it is context-free and intentionally sensationalist it does far more harm than good.

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Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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